Well, the night one numbers are in, and they are very good. Thanks to a lot of promotion, a hell of a football game as a lead-in (go Giants!) and the lack of anything resembling competition on the other networks, it averaged more than 18 million viewers and got the best demo rating for any network series premiere in the last three years. I don't know how much of a lead-in "Prison Break" is these days, but I suspect the show to at east hold its own against "Briefcase or No Briefcase." While I'm not exactly a fan of the show at the moment, I'm glad to see any scripted series do that well, especially at a time when the networks are trying to act like they don't need writers.
As to the episode itself, it didn't do much to change my opinion one way or the other from the pilot. Glau's still interesting in her calmness ("Please remain calm"), Headey seems far too wimpy as Sarah, Dekker doesn't make an impression one way or the other and the action's loud and busy but not necessarily that thrilling. Some specific points:
- I've been willing to fanwank all the issues with the T2 and T3 timelines, when Skynet went up, when Sarah died of cancer (which she still has, in the most overt nod that T3 isn't being ignored; it was just erased by the time jump), etc. But somebody want to explain to me how Cromartie's head made it through the time portal, when one of the cardinal rules of the franchise -- up to and including last week's naked trip to 2007 -- is that only living things (or dead things hidden inside living things) can make the jump? Also, how exactly did the rest of Cromartie's body end up in a dump for all this time? Wouldn't you think that the FBI would have picked over every ounce of debris from the explosion that appeared to claim the lives of two fugitives and a school shooter? Wouldn't that skeleton have been analyzed and repurposed in the same way Cyberdyne was going to use the T1 Terminator's arm to create Skynet?
- As I mentioned in my column review, the 9/11 reference, while maybe necessary, was clumsy. It's awkward anytime a largely fantasy-based fictional character gets mixed up in that tragedy, whether it's here or Spider-Man being asked why he didn't stop it. The James Bond producers at least had the good sense to refer to 9/11 obliquely in "Die Another Day" (where it's implied, but never said outright, that 007 was in captivity with the North Koreans at the time, because how could the great James Bond allow such a tragedy to take place?).
- I'm glad they're revisiting the concept of Sarah's time living with various revolutionaries as she trained herself and John for the coming of Judgment Day. Enrique was, I'm assuming, supposed to be the same guy Sarah went to for weapons after they busted out of the mental hospital in T2. I'm hoping he's not the last of these guys to pop up.
- The producers have said they don't want to do a Terminator of the Week formula, but between Cromartie wandering around trying to assemble himself and this new concept of Terminators with specific missions in the past, I expect we're going to see a lot of them. The latter concept seems kind of dumb, by the way; how hard would it be to give every Terminator a baseline setting that featured photos of Sarah and John, in the unlikely event they stumbled across them while doing something else? (That's kind of what happens in T3, where the female Terminator finds John while trying to kill somebody else.)
- On the other hand, the concept of Cameron only taking orders from John -- and not this John -- is an interesting twist on the T2 dynamic, where young John was able to get Arnie to stop killing people, use dumb slang, etc.
- Between the very public computer search and then the visit to his former soon-to-be stepdad (nicely played by Dean Winters), John's just not trying very hard to stay hidden. Also, is Sonya Walger (Dean's wife) trying to set some kind of records for most simultaneous primetime roles. She's got another season of "Tell Me You Love Me" coming up whenever the strike's over, presumably she'll pop up on "Lost" in either past, present or future, and I doubt we've seen the last of her here, given the connection to Winters' character.